Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rain Garden Classes in Bellevue, Seattle, Renton, Carnation, Wallingford January-April 2009

( Art by John C. Pitcher Good Nature Publishing 2008 Rain Garden poster field guide )

January 8, 2009
Stewardship Partners Press Release

Rain Gardens

Help Protect Our Streams – Classroom and Installation Workshops

As our area grows, increasing
amounts of native forest and
prairie lands are replaced by
roads, roofs, driveways, and other
hard or impervious surfaces.

Rainfall that formerly was intercepted by
the forest canopy or soaked into
the soils now becomes stormwater
runoff flowing across the landscape.
This creates two problems. Localized
flooding can occur as too much water
floods yards, streets, and parking lots.
In addition, stormwater can wash a
variety of pollutants into local creeks
and rivers, and ultimately Puget Sound.

While modern developments include
highly engineered solutions for storm -
water management, rain gardens offer
a low impact development approach
that enables individual homeowners to
help protect streams and wetlands.

Rain gardens work like a native forest
by capturing and infiltrating storm -
water. Rain gardens reduce flooding
by absorbing water from impervious
surfaces; filter oil, grease, fecal bacteria
from pet waste, and toxic materi -
als before they can pollute streams,
lakes, and bays; help to recharge the
aquifer by increasing the quantity of
water that soaks into the ground; and
provide beneficial wildlife habitat.
In a nutshell, rain gardens are modest
depressions in the landscape of people’s
yards where water is directed.

Rain gardens are typically excavated to a
depth of about two feet, and then a
mix of highly amended, compost-rich
soil is placed in the depression filling it
to a level about 6-12 inches below the
surrounding landscape to enable ponding
to occur during periods of heavy
rain. This soil and compost mix soaks
up water which is rapidly retained.

Rain gardens are finished off with a
variety of plants that do well in both
wet winter and dry summer conditions.
While many of these plants are native
to the Northwest, a number of nonnative
ornamentals may also be used to
create a colorful, attractive landscape.
Rain gardens are easy to create but
they must be built carefully. They have
to be designed to accommodate the
correct amount of rainfall. Soil condi -
tions must also be carefully assessed
during the design to determine the
depth of the soil and compost mix.

To learn more about how you can
incorporate a rain garden into your
yard’s landscape, as well as other lowimpact
development practices, join us
for a hands-on classroom workshop on
rain garden design and construction.

The King Conservation District, Stewardship
Partners, Native Plant Salvage Project,
Seattle Tilth, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle
Public Utilities, NW Environmental
Education Council and King County
Department of Natural Resources and Parks
are offering Rain Gardens:

The Key to Managing
Rain Water and Protecting Puget Sound
classroom workshops beginning in
January. Workshop participants and
volunteers are also invited to learn
more by participating in an actual
rain garden installation workshop to
be scheduled later in the spring.
The complete rain garden
classroom schedule:

• Thursday, January 22, Bellevue
• Thursday, February 12, Carnation
• Tuesday, March 3, Renton
• Tuesday, March 17, Downtown Seattle
• Thursday, March 26, Wallingford
• Thursday, April 23, South Seattle

All workshops will be scheduled in
the evening hours and registration
is required. Participants will be
sent site-assessment instructions
in advance to help maximize their
learning at the workshops. Contact
Stewardship Partners to register and
for details: (206) 292-9875 or email

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